Is a text message from an ebay seller accepting an offer from me for a skidsteer they had listed a binding contract?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Is a text message from an ebay seller accepting an offer from me for a skidsteer they had listed a binding contract?

An ebay seller listed a skidsteer for $9,990 with a contact phone number. We texted the seller for more info then and made an offer of $8,700. We received a message back 3 weeks ago stating that the owner had accepted our offer, however the equip was currently on a job and we would not be able to pickup for another week. After that date we called to make arrangements for inspection and pickup of the equipment. Several times the seller prolonged the pickup date and finally set a final time for us to pickup the equipment yesterday. The seller gave us the name to put on cashier’s check for the agreed upon price of $8,700. So with check in hand I headed to where the equipment is located. However, the seller refused to meet with us. What resources do I have at this point? Is the seller in a breach of contract by now refusing to sell us the equipment?

Asked on November 26, 2018 under Business Law, California


S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

A contract requires a valid offer and a valid acceptance.  Acceptance is effective upon dispatch by a reasonable mode of communication. A text message is a reasonable mode of communication and therefore the acceptance was valid.
You can sue the seller for breach of contract for failure to sell the equipment.  It would be advisable to pursue specific performance as your remedy for breach of contract.  Specific performance will require the seller to sell you the equipment.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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